Hyperrhiz 13

The Body-Sonic

Jay Kirby
North Carolina State University

Eddie Lohmeyer
North Carolina State University

Citation: Kirby, Jay and Eddie Lohmeyer. “The Body-Sonic.” Hyperrhiz: New Media Cultures, no. 13, 2015. doi:10.20415/hyp/013.s02

Abstract: This kit provides makers with an opportunity to create music through their muscle activity. The project provides instructions to create an Arduino-­based muscle sensor to drive data to a Processing script that will synthesize sound. Our processing script uses the Beads library, which allows users to create custom virtual synthesizers. In addition to the body sensors, our project utilizes a "DJ" figure who activates loops and samples. Per our critical essay, we believe this helps to illustrate how machines, technology, and code are embroiled in a system — not just in this project, but in our day-to-day lives.

In our kit we provide Processing scripts for synthesizers and Arduino scripts to gather data from the sensors, both available via Github. We hope our commented code will allow people to easily play with the settings of the synthesizers to create different sounds or with the sensor data to accommodate additional sensors. We also provide step-by-step procedures for setting up the Body-Sonic. Finally, we provide a live video performance of the Body-­Sonic filmed and edited so as to indicate the body flexing and making sound in correlation to the numerical readings of the code, and sample audio tracks mixed from performances of the Body-Sonic.


About This Kit

Github Repo: Code and Sketches

Instructions: Building the Body Sonic

Video Documentation: Live Performances and Code in Action

Audio Samples: Audio Tracks for Remixing

Critical Essay: The Body Sonic